What do the Louvre Museum in Paris, the British Council, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that is a global leader in the fight against breast cancer, have in common? If you answered Gulnara Karimova, you were right.
The eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s strongman, Islam Karimov, has acted aggressively in the past year or so to cast herself as an influential patron of the arts and all-around do-gooder. The chief vehicle for her philanthropic makeover is the Fund Forum, an entity that has been around since 2004 and which bills itself as dedicated to “reviving the spiritual legacy and the national traditions of the Uzbek nation [and] boosting the creative potential of prominent public figures and culture professionals.” Karimova serves as chair of the organization, which some critics complain has started exerting a disconcerting amount of influence over Uzbekistan’s cultural life.
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